Defeat From the Jaws of Victory...
Why is it that everytime Republicans actually win something they immediately find a way to toss that victory away? It seems to me that my party has a tendency to melt down, usually in the second term of a President's reign, no less, and make it impossible to advance the agenda. In this case, it's simple overreach.
Vis-a-vis the case of the filibustered Judges, when you get 90% of what you want and the other side asks for nothing in return, you've done pretty well. In the words of the immortal Bob Dole, "Half a loaf is better than none". Especially when the loaf was free. Give it up and redirect your energy to something else --- like keeping illegal immigrants out of the country. These 10 judges may be top quality individuals, worthy appointments to the courts, but,there are at least two Supreme Court Justices who, in an act of poetic justice, are close to having their feeding tubes yanked. If you think an appointment to the Appellate Court was tough because of a stand on abortion, wait until you have to put someone forward to the Supreme Court.
The difference, though, between these 10 judicial nominees and a Supreme Court appointment is tha he public would REALLY not stand any delay in choosing a replacement SC Judge. Yes, the fanatics of the death factorty (kill 'em before they're born, kill 'em before they die on their own, let murderers and rapists roam free) will screech anyway, no matter who you appoint. But, and this is the point, you can bring heavier artillery to bear with public opinion and perception. Right now, you're getting clobbered on perception.
It also seems to me that if the democrats learned the wrong lessons about religion in the 2004 campaign, so did conservatives. I have no doubt that evangelical Christians, conservative Catholics, et. al. exist in legions and they vote. I also have no doubt that they also overwhelmingly vote republican. However, it seems that some republicans (especially De Lay and Frist) have embraced that constituencies platform to the detriment of the rest of us. Yes, we do want a more just, more civilized society. Yes, we belive in God (although in varying degrees...I went to Catholic school all my life, remember?), and keep the moral code outlined in the Commandments. But whether or not those Commandments hang in a public place is a minor issue when a tin pot Korean dictator and a Persian Daffy Duck-like character with a too-tight turban threaten to turn my home into a smoking pile of self-lighting rubble.
I guess what I'm saying here is, basically, pick your fights. Right now we're doing a very bad job of it.
Social Security reform could use a boost. We have an energy plan that requires action. We've practically defanged the trial attorneys, now let's find another obstacle to progress, like the Treehuggers and EcoTerrorists (re: Sierra Club and PETA). How about getting back to cutting that budget instead of expending energy on Senate Rules changes? How about sending the Estate Tax back to the infernal abyss it crept from permanently?
There are other things you could be doing. Perhaps if you did them, when the midterm elections come in 2006 you'd have those 60 senators you need and there wouldn't be an argument over filibusters or a few judges.